5 easy ways to keep our immunity in check this winter
The VITL Nutrition Team
Now winter has arrived, our nutritionists share their top hacks for supporting our immunity through the colder months.
This winter, in order to keep our immune systems fighting fit, we need to focus on the following five things:
Sleep is a complex phenomenon and research is still trying to uncover more about what happens to our brain and body when we sleep. A lot of evidence links sleep with the health of our immune system. In fact, a lack of sleep can find us more prone to colds and flu as it hinders our body’s ability to fight infection.
The human body contains trillions of bacteria, most of which are beneficial. The densest population can be found in our gut, and is thought to play a role not only in digestion but also immune function. Feeding these “good” bacteria with the right foods is particularly important if we want to help our body fight off any nasty viruses. Try including fermented foods such as natural yoghurt, kefir and kombucha to boost the good bacteria in your gut.
Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells (also known as leukocytes). These are cells from our immune system that help to fight infectious disease and foreign invaders. Foods such as red peppers, kiwis, kale and broccoli are particularly high in vitamin C.
We often associate dehydration with hot weather, however, it’s just as important to maintain our hydration levels during all of the seasons. Just think, how many hot caffeinated drinks do we have during the colder months? And how often do we find yourself boosting the central heating? Staying hydrated helps our body eliminate toxins and waste materials, which is important for the immune system. Try to avoid too many caffeinated drinks that can lead to increased urination and dehydration, instead try lemon, ginger and turmeric in hot water!
Despite the cold, it is important to keep our bodies active as research continues to support the link between regular exercise and a healthy immune system. Exercise promotes blood circulation and this keeps the white blood cells and antibodies (cells of your immune system) moving around the body, detecting and attacking bacteria and viruses.
Moving our bodies creates the conditions for the body to breathe, stretch, circulate and sweat, all of which are mechanisms that help to remove unwanted toxins from the body. Toxins are also stored in the fatty tissue of the body, and so when fatty tissue is reduced as a result of exercise, these toxins are released and eliminated through cleansing organs such as the lungs, kidneys and liver.
Whilst we can try to give our body everything it needs to keep our immune system fighting fit, it’s not always easy or possible! Supplementing alongside a healthy diet can give our immunity a much-needed boost.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D receptors are actually expressed on our immune cells, and are involved in the regulation of the essential and adaptive immune responses. As the main source of vitamin D is the sun, the updated government regulations advise supplementation throughout the winter months.
Zinc: an essential mineral that serves as an antioxidant in the body, crucial for the normal development and function of cells that mediate the immune system. Zinc has also been shown to reduce the duration of colds, as well as prevent us from getting one in the first place.
CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10): an antioxidant found in almost all living things, used by our cells to process energy and function properly. CoQ10 actually plays a significant role in boosting the immune system by supplying energy to the cells and tissues involved in immune function.
Omega 3: may enhance the function of immune cells, and also thought to prevent disease by reducing inflammation throughout the body.
These key immune-boosting nutrients can be found in our Personalised Packs. Take your free online consultation to determine which nutrients your body needs, so you can feel 100% better more often.
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